5th Thuringian AI Forum: Science meets business

Horst-Michael Groß used the AI Forum to discuss AI topics with the participants.
Horst-Michael Groß used the AI Forum to discuss AI topics with the participants.

Whether in medical technology, industrial production or administration - artificial intelligence is already being used in many areas. At the 5th Thuringian AI Forum, experts showed companies where its potential lies for the Thuringian economy.

It gives us shopping recommendations when we store online, recognizes faces when we take photos with our smartphone or translates texts into another language in a matter of seconds - artificial intelligence (AI) has become a helpful companion in our everyday lives, but its potential has not yet been fully exploited, especially in business.

The Thuringian AI Forum aims to show how companies can use AI for themselves and where the technology is already being used successfully. At the 5th edition of the event in Erfurt’s Dompalais, around 90 representatives from research, industry and politics discussed new AI developments. The forum was organized by the Thuringian Center for Learning Systems and Robotics (TZLR ) with the support of NT Neue Technologien AG and the Thuringian ClusterManagement. Benjamin Schütz, head of the TZLR office, used the AI forum to talk to participants, exchange knowledge and raise awareness of the opportunities offered by AI among Thuringian companies:

The TZLR is an interface between universities, research institutions and industry and the AI Forum is one of our largest events for networking stakeholders from these areas. It is a great platform to promote the transfer from science to industry.

In specialist presentations, experts presented concrete examples of applications where AI is already being used successfully in various disciplines - from medical technology to administration. Dr. Marcus Paradies, research associate at the Databases and Information Systems Group at TU Ilmenau, presented the thuerAI transfer project. In twelve sub-projects, divided into the key areas of production and quality assurance, healthcare and medical technology and smart city, researchers at TU Ilmenau are developing pioneering AI solutions for each of these areas in collaboration with Friedrich Schiller University Jena and the IMMS Institute of Microelectronics and Mechatronics Systems gemeinnützige GmbH. For example, Prof. Jens Haueisen, Head of the Biomedical Engineering Group at TU Ilmenau, is researching how functional imaging can detect retinal diseases at an early stage using AI methods. Prof. Horst-Michael Groß, Head of the Neuroinformatics and Cognitive Robotics Lab at TU Ilmenau, is also involved in the project and is working on the use of robotics in care, among other things. With formats such as the AI Forum, he aims to provide companies with an overview of the possibilities of AI:

Although there is a lot of talk about AI at the moment, it is often difficult for companies to see how they can use the technology for themselves. They need customized solutions that are tailored to their needs.

In addition to the TZLR, interested companies in Thuringia can also contact the Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Ilmenau or the ProKI-Ilmenau center - both headquartered at the TU Ilmenau - with questions about AI in order to successfully get started with the technology. The Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Ilmenau unites four model factories with different thematic focuses - always with an AI connection - at the Ilmenau, Jena and Schmalkalden sites under one roof. The ProKI-Ilmenau center draws on years of research and practical experience from five groups at TU Ilmenau in the field of production and acts as the first point of contact for SMEs on issues relating to the use of AI in production. Furthermore, the various partners of the Saxony-Thuringia AI hub help with the transfer from science to industry and the pooling of expertise beyond the state borders of Thuringia. The aim of the hub is also to reflect the needs of industry to the scientific players so that AI research is also carried out in the interests of industry.

Dr. Sebastian Gerth, Managing Director of the ProKI-Ilmenau center, coordinating AI trainer at the Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Ilmenau and active in the Saxony-Thuringia AI hub, was present at the AI forum as a contact person for all institutions. He made numerous contacts to promote the introduction of artificial intelligence in companies, identify the needs of stakeholders from business and science and communicate synergies.

The AI Forum is a wonderful format for the exchange of ideas between various stakeholders with very different backgrounds on the prerequisites, opportunities, risks and, above all, practical challenges in the research of artificial intelligence by universities and also its implementation by companies in mostly already existing business models and corporate processes.

Prof. Horst-Michael Groß is also convinced that AI is a key technology of the future that will increasingly support us in our everyday lives:

Wherever data is collected and evaluated, AI can take the burden off people, relieve them of tasks and make work processes easier. For this to succeed, it is important that we as researchers support companies with our expertise and transfer knowledge.